SCO targets Linux users big and small

The SCO Group is targeting large and small businesses in its effort to capture licensing fees from Linux users and vendors, according to CEO Darl McBride.

The SCO Group is targeting large and small businesses in its effort to capture licensing fees from Linux users and vendors, according to CEO Darl McBride.

The comment raises the possibility of Linux users in New Zealand being approached by SCO’s lawyers, although there is no sign of this yet.

“The range of discussions we’re in right now go from small, start-up companies less than two years old to Fortune 50 conglomerates,” McBride said in a conference call with analysts last week. "We’ve been pleasantly surprised that the majority of the people we talk to are actually very reasonable about it.”

Chris Hegan, CEO of Linux solutions provider Asterisk, says he has not heard of any attempt to recover licensing fees from local companies. Most companies would want to see evidence of infringement before agreeing to pay for a licence, he believes.

SCO’s claim that the Linux source contains code for which it has licensing rights has been widely derided in the open source arena, and the company has been criticised for not providing examples to back up its claim.

“Their case is completely without merit, it’s just a tactic to get themselves bought,” Hegan says. “What part of the Linux code do they say they hold IP on? They don’t seem to be able to tell anybody.

“If they want to tell me what that code is, they might get a little more bandwidth. It’s a pretty odd position to take.”

Hegan says when SCO first announced it would sue IBM for breach of contract, claiming it had placed SCO-licensed code in the Linux kernel, he had received a email from SCO offering to sell a Unix licence, but doubted it was targeted at him as a Linux user.

“It was just a piece of spam I got, really. I don’t even know what the offer is ... they don’t actually tell us.”

Hegan suggests SCO embarked upon the court case as a tactic to get IBM to buy them, but said the move would fail.

“I believe if they really had intellectual property that would enable them to demand money from every Linux user, Microsoft would have bought them by now.”

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